B.C. has finally put a date on phase 2 of their relaunch plan. Premier John Horgan announced on Wednesday, May 19, that the second part of the B.C. reopening plan will officially take off on May 19. Previously, the officials had mentioned that the second phase would take place after mid-May but hadn't provided a fixed date.
The Premier told the public about the opening date in his weekly press conference on COVID-19.
Horgan began his press conference by saying that he knows that residents are looking forward to the upcoming long weekend between Friday, May 15, and Monday, May 18.
"Everyone is anxiously looking forward to the Victoria Day long weekend," he said.
B.C. residents will be able to access provincial parks and recreational sites starting from May 14, as had been previously announced by government officials.
But the next step of the COVID-19 restart plan for B.C. is not too far off. Instead, it's just a day after the long weekend.
Phase 2 of the plan allows restaurants and retailers to open their doors to the public again, as mentioned in the official document.
Hair salons, barbershops, pubs, parks, beaches, outdoor spaces, dental clinics and so much more have been given the go-ahead to resume their services after the long weekend.
But John Horgan wants to remind us that that "we're far from being out of the woods."
Although he does note that nearly 78% of the individuals that had contracted COVID-19 have already recovered.
According to the province, this second stage is set to continue through the month of May. If transmission rates continue to remain low and in decline, then the province will move into Phase 3.
This phase will tentatively begin in June and last till September and will see the reopening of hotels, resorts, overnight camping, film production and select entertainment venues.
Horgan also discussed the tourism industry in B.C. and said that he doesn't want to say too much about what could happen in June, July, or August.
"We're not there yet," said the Premier.
Physical distancing measures are still in place, so we are still supposed to stay home and stay safe. "Stay home as best you can for the foreseeable future."
He also said that he is reluctant to talk about the programs that could be put in place for the tourism industry before the next phase kicks in.
"As the summer unfolds and the evidence predicts that we can do more, we will do more and we'll be focusing on the tourism sector for sure," he added.
Horgan said that he doesn't want people to believe that things will go back to normal on May 19. "This is not a flick of the switch," he said.
Just because we're moving on to the next step soon, it doesn't necessarily mean that we can see our dentists and physiotherapists on May 19 immediately.
Horgan said that WorkSafeBC is still finalizing the guidelines for many workplaces. The guidelines will be ready in the coming days.